Supply chain regulation in Scottish social care : facilitators and barriers

James, Phillip and Baluch, Alina M and Cunningham, Ian and Cullen, Anne-Marie (2021) Supply chain regulation in Scottish social care : facilitators and barriers. Economic and Industrial Democracy. ISSN 0143-831X (

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Drawing on a study of a Scottish government initiative to ensure the provision of a living wage to social care workers, the paper sheds new light on the value of regulating domestic supply chains to enhance labour standards in supplier organisations, and the factors that facilitate and hinder such regulation. The study confirms that supply chains driven by monopsonistic purchasers tend to drive down employment conditions, while indicating that the studied initiative met with a good deal of success due to a combination of the government generated 'soft' regulation and support from care providers that reflected both value and pragmatic considerations. It also highlights the contradictory tensions that can arise between policy aspirations and business objectives and suggests that to be effective, initiatives to enhance labour standards in supply chains need to address adverse market dynamics.